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About The BepiColombo Mission


During a close Mercury flyby, the BepiColombo spacecraft collected data that showed how electrons raining down on the planet’s surface are triggering X-ray auroras.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. BepiColombo Mission: Exploring Mercury
  2. Objectives of BepiColombo

BepiColombo Mission: Exploring Mercury

BepiColombo is a collaborative mission between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to explore Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun.

Named After Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo:

  • The mission is named after Giuseppe “Bepi” Colombo, an Italian mathematician and engineer who made significant contributions to understanding Mercury’s orbit.

Launch and Purpose:

  • Launched on October 20, 2018, BepiColombo aims to study various aspects of Mercury, including its surface, composition, magnetic field, and interaction with the solar environment.

Two Main Components:

BepiColombo consists of two main components:

  • Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO): Provided by ESA, the MPO focuses on mapping and studying Mercury’s surface, composition, and topography.
  • Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO): Provided by JAXA, the MMO studies Mercury’s magnetic field and magnetosphere.
Objectives of BepiColombo:
  • Investigate Mercury’s surface and composition to gain insights into its geological history and formation processes.
  • Study Mercury’s magnetic field and magnetosphere to understand its internal structure and interactions with the solar wind.
  • Measure Mercury’s exosphere (thin atmosphere) and understand its composition and dynamics.
  • Conduct experiments to test principles of general relativity and improve our understanding of gravity.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023